Maybe I shouldn’t confess the attachment I have with my fishing tackle, and I hope some of you understand, but I struggle when I lose my “friends”.
This weekend at the KBF Cedar Creek event I lost another friend landing a monster 8 inch bass among the standing timber. The bass blew up (as much as an 8 incher can blow up) on a Rapala Skitterpop as my Hobie drifted toward a tree. I normally would have sacrificed the fish to avoid hitting the tree, but it was the kind of day where an 8 inch fish was pretty critical – I was sucking; and I heard what I hoped was a limb snap.
Well, after fighting with the beast….and finally turning him in just the right direction to reach the 8 inch line on my hawg trough….I saw that the snap had not been a limb, but instead was my best spinnerbait rod!
To the unknowing, they would see her as a cheap Bass Pro rod; once part of a rod and reel combo special; but that would make them wrong! She was a friend I had spent hundreds of hours with…had caught hundreds of fish with…..
….the first I remember – a 7.5 lb largemouth in Yellow Creek before I started my kayak tournament career. I was fishing in my Bass Tracker slow rolling a Mann’s Classic spinner bait across a log in 4 ft of water when I saw a flash. After weighing the bass and releasing her, I looked on the deck of my boat for the rod to find that it was gone; kicked overboard. I was sick. A brand new rod kicked over…then I saw the bait laying on the bow, picked it up, and pulled the rod back in…..
…years (last year) and many bass later…I heard my new kayak buddies talking about something called KBF and a national championship of some kind. I asked if I could fish it, they said NO, because I had not qualified but there was an “open”. I had no idea what that meant, but they were going and I had always wanted to fish in some big tournament so I signed up. I took off with visions of me winning, instead finishing in 11th place out of hundreds of anglers fishing primarily with this rod and a spinner bait. I would fish top water with my old Berkley rod (see this story Berkley Hot Rod and me ) early, then move to a spot where I crushed 18 inchers on a Mann’s Classic spinner bait….
…I had let a three year old Dishrag reel in a bass, and a monster skipjack on that rod as he exclaimed “a big’un” down at the marina….
….this year I had qualified for the KBF National Championship after a decent year fishing. I had accomplished this after catching more big bass than I could ever remember in a year – a larger portion coming in the spring and fall on my cheap Bass Pro rod, now outfitted with a Shimano Citica bait casting reel. I landed in 7th fishing mostly with a (you guessed) Mann’s Spinner bait in shallow water. Pre-fishing I had caught 10 bass over 20 inches; won a jersey from TourneyX with one of them – all with her…
…then, here I found myself sitting in Cedar Creek holding a one foot piece of her in one hand and the rest laying at my feet.
Now, some will understand; some will think I need therapy. But I feel that I have lost one of my best friends. Had I won the tourney instead of placing 17th, it would not have mattered. Had I caught an 8 lb bass instead of an 8 inch fish, it would not have mattered.
She is gone.
Off to mourn………….